Building Stability Overseas Strategy: The Way Forward

The Building Stability Overseas Strategy (BSOS), published in July 2011, is the UK Government’s first cross-departmental policy framework for preventing violent conflict overseas. Saferworld believes the BSOS provides a strong vision for the UK’s conflict prevention work, as it builds on the best available evidence for what works in preventing and reducing violence and addressing state fragility. While considerable progress has been made over the past year to implement this vision, it will be a significant challenge to ensure that the approach outlined in the BSOS is consistently adhered to throughout the UK’s overseas engagements. This short briefing, aimed at UK government, officials, parliamentarians, civil society, and others engaged with conflict-affected and fragile states, highlights some successes that have been achieved so far, identifies challenges that have arisen, and makes recommendations on ways to take this strategy forward in the following areas:

  • Mainstreaming a BSOS approach throughout government: Ensuring that the progressive vision for promoting stability outlined in the BSOS is consistently applied across the work of government departments – including those which are not directly responsible for BSOS implementation – and reflected across relevant policy areas, including work on the post-2015 development framework.
  • Increasing buy-in to the idea of upstream conflict prevention: Relevant officials should invest time and resources in increasing understanding of and buy-in to this third ‘pillar’ of BSOS, encouraging those with relevant responsibilities to adopt this vision in their work.
  • Mainstreaming a gender perspective: UK policy and practice on gender, peace, and security must be fully linked in with work on the BSOS, ensuring that a gender perspective is mainstreamed throughout implementation.
  • Scrutiny of BSOS implementation: Further opportunities for effective parliamentary and civil society scrutiny of BSOS implementation will be needed, in addition to public information on BSOS structures.

For a more detailed assessment of BSOS implementation, read the Saferworld briefing Building Stability Overseas: Challenges and Opportunities.